A Moment in Bank History 

20th Anniversary of Bank One-JPMC Merger

Merger Brought Jamie Dimon to Chase 


On July 1, 2004, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank One Corporation merged their holding companies in a $58 billion deal. The merger created the second-largest bank in the United States at the time, and made Chase the largest credit card issuer in the country. 


Click for: The New York Times Coverage 

                 Wall Street Journal Coverage


In March 2000, Dimon, who had left Citigroup in 1998, became CEO of Bank One, then the nation's fifth largest bank. When JPMorgan Chase merged with Bank One in July 2004, Dimon became president and chief operating officer of the combined company. On December 31, 2005, he was named CEO of JPMorgan Chase, and on December 31, 2006, he was named chairman and president. 


We asked Chase (and Bank One) alumni for recollections of the merger:


George Renert: At the time I was retired from Chase and consulting in the Chase Personal Financial Services group (PFS). I will never forget the day my colleagues in PFS were all invited to a lunch at 410 Park by the Bank One senior management team. They gave us a rave review of our strategy and our people, saying they wanted to export our model to Chicago and Arizona. We were encouraged to volunteer to ask for transfers to both states to lead the rollout of PFS to the Bank One venues. We left the lunch energized, proud and excited, mostly feeling appreciated by having our business validated by our new bosses. Two days later, midday on a Friday, the same group of Chase senior managers were called to an important must-attend meeting in the 1CMP auditorium, where we were all terminated on the spot. Quite unforgettable.


Gary Baumer: To provide context: I joined the Chase Manhattan Bank in July 1973 as a credit trainee (CC7 of ‘73) at the age of 21 and retired as a Senior Officer from JPMorganChase & Company from Hong Kong at the age of 55 in July 2007 – two careers, three continents and five foreign countries later. I'm retired 16 years and counting.

     At the time of the Bank One merger I was about 18 months into supporting Dina Dublon, the CFO (and, according to Time magazine at the time, the most powerful woman on Wall Street) as the new JPMorganChase was looking to build a truly global financial management function. When  my boss and mentor, the late and great John Farrell, called me in and asked me to become the about-to-merge new company's U.S. Employee Benefits Executive, I reluctantly accepted the role. I was reluctant given my lack of background in the area, the very tight timeframe to complete a viable medical benefits plan as a result of merger with expert teams in NYC and the midwest, and Mr. Dimon's request – on my first-ever meeting with him – to cut an enormous amount of money from the cost of the merged company's medical benefit plans. (I don't remember the exact figure, but it was in the mid-hundreds of millions.)

     I was somewhat successful and was awarded with my last assignment, at my request, as the HR Executive for Asia Pacific out of Hong Kong. The benefits team of about 40 that I led and managed was amazing, and I am not only still in touch with many of them on a personal level but Bernadette Ulissi (now Branosky), my chosen successor, is still in the role 20 years later. 


Rob Baracos: Jamie hosted the first IT post-merger all-hands meeting at 575 Washington Blvd., in Jersey City, NJ. At the end he opened up for questions.  I was bold and floated a challenging one.
He placed his palm on his forehead horizontally to gaze into the audience and asked, "Who asked that question?”, as I sank intimidated into my chair. He did provide a great response after the audience stopped laughing about the setup.

Johanna Harris: In 1999, I was hired as a banker at Bank One in Lansing IL. I was happy to be a part of a community that loved that branch. When Bank One opened its new in-line store in my neighborhood, I jumped at the opportunity. I remember inviting our customers into “suites” to help and upsell. I used to stand near the door and “work the lobby” so I would get the opportunity to assist.    
     We had so much fun. We were like family. I remember my coworker dressing up as “Digit” – the Bank One mascot – at a local event. She was a real trooper. It was a very hot day.  We all took turns giving her water.
     When we heard the news that Chase would merge with Bank One, there were mixed emotions.  I on the other hand saw great potential. I increasingly became more successful and was promoted as Branch Manager.
     Yes, there was a cultural difference: "Work the lobby" vs "Chase Sea of Blue".
     I left Chase in 2007, but my coworkers and I still keep in touch.  We still meet at our favorite spot and laugh about our great times together at Bank One/Chase.
Below: "Digit" visits kids as part of Bank One's "Adopt-a-School" program.

Bill Atkinson: I was part of all mergers except the JP Morgan merger. I had the privilege of working at First Illinois Bank LaGrange from 1990, which became Bank One in 1992. Bank One merged with First Chicago, NBD, and retained the Bank One name. In 1999 I transferred from Chicago to Indianapolis as a Relationship Banker, to work in Answer One which I enjoyed very much, assisting internal employees with procedure questions. In 2004 I accepted a position back in Illinois working at First Merchants Bank. In 2018 I retired from banking. 




 To comment or add your own story about the merger,  
  write to news@chasealum.org.